Some utilities and other related industries now use long-range prognostications for seasonal peak-load forecasting applications such as installed capacity requirements for market operations and system planning, load management program design/development, incentive payment and penalty calculations, maintenance/outage scheduling and to support power supply contracting and hedging decisions. Similarly, a wind energy-forecasting tool can provide the user community with the ability to make analogous decisions in long-range time horizons. There has, however, been virtually no effort to incorporate seasonal forecasts into predicted wind energy output. As utilities and other commercial users look increasingly to wind power to meet ever rising demand, the need for more accurate site assessments and supply-side planning necessitates development of long-range forecasting tools tailored to the wind power markets.
Here, we present a viable long-term seasonal forecasting tool for wind energy applications. Our methodology incorporates climatological trends analysis in addition to model exercises and sensitivity studies, seeking to exploit relationships between slowly evolving atmospheric/oceanic features, or teleconnections, around the globe. These seasonal forecasts will help energy producers and users, corporate managers, and political leaders to adjust more effectively to the changing nature of the energy markets.